Florida’s salt springs bubble up from a trapped layer of seawater deep within the earth. At Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, its namesake Salt Spring is very deceiving.
Although only a small crevice in a tidal basin, it’s 320 feet deep. Deep and small is the norm of the springs found here. On a walk along the Springs Trail, we saw signage for at least five springs, but there are certainly more.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: New Port Richey
Address: 8737 US Highway 19 North, Port Richey
Fees: $3 per vehicle
Restrooms: Flush toilets at main entrance parking area. Vault toilet at Scenic Drive trailhead.
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed dogs welcome.
All three entrances are off US 19 north of Tarpon Springs and south of New Port Richey. The main entrance is the most obvious one. The others are along paralleling back roads.
About the Park
Stretching along the Gulf of Mexico coastline for nearly four miles and 4,000 acres, hidden in plain sight west of the strip malls and condos along US 19 from Bayonet Point south to Port Richey, this is a very large state park.
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park encompasses a dozen coastal natural communities, most of which are wet. But those that are dry offer unexpected natural wonders.
Most are so subtle you wouldn’t notice them without a sign, but Reflection Spring was a genuine surprise with its large pool sparkling with fish.
These are not springs you can swim in, but natural pools to behold. All are salt water springs along the tidal fringe.
From the main entrance area, paddlers can access nearly four miles of untrammeled Gulf of Mexico shoreline, or paddle any of three trails, including along scenic Salt Springs Run. Kayak rentals are available.
In addition to the Springs Trail, two shorter trails – the Kayak Launch Trail and the Eagle Trail – provide nature walks into the estuary and the flatwoods, respectively.
Two other entrance points lead to trails. The original Scenic Drive Trailhead, at the corner of Cinema Drive and Scenic Drive, offers a half-mile loop that sticks to the edge of scrubby flatwoods, diving into a bayhead to showcase towering trees.
Another trail, the Black Rail Trail, is accessed from the Black Rail Trailhead at the end of SR 52. There isn’t much to it yet except a walk to the estuary edge for birding.
See our video of Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
See our photos of Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Explore an expansive landscape of pine flatwoods, prairies, scrubby flatwoods, and open scrub along nearly 50 miles of trails just east of New Port Richey
Discover a new perspective on the Gulf of Mexico from the observation tower at Key Vista Nature Park, a coastal gem with a 1.5 mile loop to a natural shoreline
A place for spectacular sunsets, Anclote Gulf Park offers several observation decks along its coastal boardwalks overlooking Anclote Key and the Gulf of Mexico